I’m passionate about food, and I’m doing some thinking on innovation in this sector. It is a very exciting space and I believe that there are many opportunities to innovate and to change things for the better.
As a starting point, I outlined this (first world) food chain that I share with you with the aim to discuss it together.
Starting from the left:
The production of ingredients means agriculture and livestock (perhaps we could add fishing, although now most of the fish is raised).
Ingredients take three roads: the food processing industry, the wholesale distribution or retail (especially for farm markets, local and organic).
Whether it is a simple ingredient, or a semifinished product, or a packaged product or a pre-cooked, the food passes through a stage of final preparation prior to consumption. This can be a home preparation and consumption is at home. Or it can be a professional preparation, and therefore, the consumption takes place in a public place (or at home, if we consider home delivery).
Every piece of this chain is going to be impacted by innovation in the coming years. Some phenomena are already in place, as the explosion of home deliveries (Postmates or Deliveroo for home; Zesty or Eat Club for offices) and the disintermediation of grocery stores (Instacart or Amazon Fresh). Others will be slower (and I mean few years instead of months, which will create enormous problems of the food industry).
In general terms, it seems to me that innovation is largely generated from right to left: there is a new demand that is not met by traditional players, and that leaves room for new companies (think about Blue Apron or Muchery).